Diphtheria Tetanus and Pertussis Vaccine


What is the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine? DTaP, Tdap, and Td are the names of shots given to protect you from diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Diphtheria is a severe bacterial infection that causes a thick covering in the back of your mouth and throat. It spreads from person to person. Tetanus is a severe infection caused by bacteria found in dirt, manure, and dust. The bacteria enter the body through open skin, such as cuts and wounds. Tetanus may cause painful muscle spasms and lockjaw. Pertussis (whooping cough) causes periods of rapid coughing with no break. This makes it hard to eat, drink, or breathe. Pertussis spreads from person to person.

Who should get the DTaP vaccine? The DTaP vaccine is only given to children younger than 7 years. Children usually get 5 doses of the DTaP vaccine between 6 weeks and 6 years:

What if my child misses a scheduled dose of the DTaP vaccine? If your child misses a scheduled DTaP dose, the next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to give extra doses or start the entire series of the vaccine over.

Who should get the Tdap vaccine?

Who should get the Td vaccine? The Td vaccine is a booster shot that may be given to adolescents and adults every 10 years. The following are also reasons the booster shot may be given:

What if the vaccine history is not known? Adults and children 7 years or older should receive a series of 3 shots. The series is 1 Tdap shot and 2 Td shots. The second shot should be given at least 4 weeks after the first. The third shot should be given at least 6 months after the second.

Who should not get the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine? Do not get the vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction to the vaccine in the past. Do not get it if you developed encephalopathy within 7 days of your last dose. If you are allergic to latex, ask your healthcare provider if you should get the vaccine.

Who should wait to get the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine? Wait to get the vaccine or tell your healthcare provider if:

What are the risks of the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine? The area where the vaccine was given may be red, tender, or swollen. You may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening.

Call 911 for any of the following:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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